How To Shoot Smartphone B-ROLL

Versus pro what’s difference what’s the difference between a good shot and a bad one and what can we do to make our average-looking footage look much more interesting well in this blog?

I’m going to be showing you some common filmmaking mistakes as well as ways to fix them and giving you tips on shooting professional-looking b-roll it’s coming up hey everyone steve here from learning online video and today I’m in this incredible location in the southwest of England where I’m going to be showing you the difference between beginner and pro when it comes to shooting professional-looking b-roll sequences.

Shoot Smartphone B-ROLL Overview

I’m going to be shooting two sequences at this location today the first sequence is going to be how somebody who is just starting out might capture this location including all the mistakes they might make when it comes to shooting b-roll sequences and with the second sequence i’m going to capture how a professional would capture i’m going to be thinking about camera movement framing composition and at the end of this video i’m going to edit both of those sequences together with music color grading and sound effects to see what results we get and hopefully you’ll be able to see a huge difference between those two sequences and have a much better understanding as to why one looks much better than the other you can then apply these same techniques to your videos but with that out of the way let’s jump straight into this tutorial and start shooting some footage okay let’s start with the opening shot so how might somebody who’s just starting out capture an opening shot to a b-roll sequence well let’s open up the camera app on this phone and select video and go through a few common mistakes now i’m going to hit record i haven’t put too much thought into this shot i do have my grids enabled but i haven’t really paid much attention to sort of framing and composition techniques or anything like that i also haven’t locked my focus and exposure which isn’t the end of the world because it’s not particularly cloudy sunny cloudy sunny we’ve got quite consistent light today i’m also not really thinking about camera movement i’m just holding it relatively still now i’m also at eye level.

This is something that a lot of beginners do they just shoot everything at eye level because that’s the easiest way but always think about framing and composition think about maybe you could get lower maybe you could get higher maybe you could put something between you and your focal point to create a bit more depth but for now this is my opening shot because i’m a beginner now how would somebody with a bit more experience capture an opening shot to this location well there’s a few things you can do the first thing that i like to do when it comes to an opening shot is to reveal it maybe create a bit more anticipation rather than just cutting straight to that location we could for example start from behind these rocks and then lift the camera up to reveal our location let’s give it a go this time i’m going to tap and hold my focal point to lock focus and exposure hit record and then bring my camera down nice and low to the ground and use these rocks and grass as a way to reveal this location i’m going to smoothly and slowly lift my camera up whilst crouching and then stand up and lift my camera as far as it will go let’s take a look and just like that we’ve created a much more interesting shot that reveals this location camera movement and angles now the uk has had a lot of rain recently and as you can see this part of the land has completely flooded it’s a total bulk rather disgusting not very interesting is exactly what a beginner might say whereas i see this as an opportunity to be more creative and get much more dynamic shots this bog this flooded patch of land is actually creating a really nice reflection to the untrained eye it’s an ugly bog but with a bit of creativity.

We can make our footage look much more interesting here’s how a beginner might shoot this bog this bog is disgusting and i have no idea why i’m here they may just point their camera down like this not a particularly flattering angle and yeah i would agree with the beginner this bog does not look good but look let’s use this water to our advantage to capture some much more creative looking shots now look here’s a little trick for you okay now what you’ll notice is that with smartphones the lenses are normally in one of the corners so for this we want to spin our camera around because i want to try and get my lens as close as i can to the water i’m also going to select slow motion for this i’m going to use the wide angle lens so we’re in slow motion frames per second we’ve got our lens nice and close to the water i’m just going to tap to lock focus and exposure i’m going to hit record and i’m going to lean as far as i can over this water with my lens nice and close to the water and i’m going to pull back like that now was that the best shot in the world no of course it wasn’t but it was a lot better than shooting it at eye level and looking down at least we used this water to our advantage and tried to get much more creative with our footage now a lot of the techniques that i’m teaching you today all come down to mindset and just thinking differently when you’re out on a shoot a beginner sees a flooded patch of land a disgusting bog whereas someone who’s professional and experienced sees a creative opportunity now a beginner might look at this tree and think well i want to capture all of the tree in this shot so again at eye level i’m going to point my camera down and then tilt up to show the top of the tree like this so what do we do to make this shot more interesting and how can we keep our audience engaged well we could start by getting much more creative with our camera angles and movement this time i’m going to get nice and close to the tree i’m going to point my camera up and then pull down whilst rotating the camera.

Let’s take a look another fantastic spot here just looking out with this incredible view across dartmoor i really want to include this in the sequence now this is what a beginner might do okay so i’ve got my standard lens i’m not going to lock focus and exposure but i just want to show off this location so i’m going to hit record i’m going to go for a classic pan this is the go to beginner maneuver just a pan from left to right now there’s nothing wrong with a pan they’re just not they’re not great it’s they do look a little bit amateur you don’t see them often in hollywood feature films the reason being that when you pan a pan the camera doesn’t move it just stays on one axis so it goes left right a tilt up and down whereas in cinema in feature films the camera tends to move it’s either pushing forward it’s pulling back it’s sliding left right it’s on a jib a crane getting lifted up whereas a pan it’s basic and it feels amateur not knocking pans there is a time and a place for them but just not today now for me a pan isn’t going to quite cut it for this shot i really want the sequence to feel cinematic i want it to feel like these shots belong in a hollywood film for me i want to try and replicate a gimbal movement a smooth push forward shot that shows off this landscape so i’m going to select my wide angle lens that way i’m instantly going to see more of this environment.

I’m going to tap the screen to lock focus and exposure as always i’m going to hit record and start walking forwards and as long as i walk nice and steady holding my phone with two hands i get a nice stable shot with the right technique and image stabilization of course you’re able to replicate a camera move very similar to something shot on a gimbal transitions now there are many types of transitions when it comes to filmmaking and video production and these are a great way to make your footage look much more creative and professional but if not executed correctly can still make your footage look cheap and amateur so let me show you some common mistakes and ways to fix them okay so let me show you a basic wipe transition this one’s super easy okay so easy in fact i’m able to do it sat down so here’s what we’re going to do we’re going to frame our shot we’re going to need two shots for this this will be our first tap and hold your screen to lock focus and exposure i know i say this all the time but with this shot in particular it’s really really important and then going to slide my camera to the right using this rock as foreground and as a way of creating a wipe.

Transition the aim here is to fill the entire frame with something in the foreground like this now for our second shot we’re going to go to a new location and find another focal point we’re then going to replicate the exact same camera movement same speed everything and this time we’re going to reveal our focal point now let’s edit these two shots together using nothing but a simple cut now let’s add a little bit more editing music and sound effects okay so that’s how a professional would capture one of these wipe transitions but what sort of mistakes might a beginne make well for start not locking focus and exposure just look at this shot camera slides but see how not only the exposure changes but also the focus the camera is now focused on this rock in the foreground let’s look at the second shot camera movement not consistent and a horrible looking exposure change in the sky now let’s edit these two clips together for comparison camera slides exposure change focus change inconsistent movement much less seamless and nowhere near as good as our first transition okay moving on now a lot of the techniques that i’m showing you today are relatively straightforward you just need the knowledge personally i’m always looking to learn new things whether that’s around cinematography lighting storytelling video editing and one of the best places to do that is skillshare skillshare is an online learning community for creatives it offers thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people on topics including illustration design photography video freelancing and much much more if you’re a creative looking to learn explore and discover new things then.

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Skillshare is the place to do it skillshare has literally thousands of classes to help you grow as a creative if you’re looking to learn how to edit videos skillshare has got your back filmmaking videography lighting cinematography skillshare has a class on just about everything put simply skillshare help you grow as a creative get those extra skills needed to turn your hobby into a career land the clients you’ve always wanted to work with make more money and be more creative whatever your goal when it comes to creativity skillshare can help you get there with classes to fit your schedule and skill level for less than ten dollars a month with an annual subscription you can binge knowledge to your heart’s content and the first people to use the link in my description will get a free trial of skillshare premium membership so you’ve got nothing to lose use the link take a class soak up some knowledge and get creative shallow depth of field now it’s really important when shooting any sequence that you get a good variety of shots you want nice big wide shots medium shots and close-ups now for this shot i want to get a nice close-up shot of this grass with the background in nice soft focus take this shot here for example i haven’t locked my focus or exposure see how the camera is unable to determine what i want to focus on see how it’s focusing on the grass in the foreground and then to the background so on and so forth not what we want but there’s a very simple trick to giving your videos that blurry background look here’s what we’re going to do i’m going to simply tap and hold to lock focus and exposure on this grass in the foreground and hit record i can now move my camera and i know that the camera will remain locked on this grass this will really help give your footage a much more professional look creative mindset okay i think it’s really important to talk about having a creative and positive mindset when it comes to filmmaking and video production.

A mistake i often see beginners make is that they’ll set limitations on not only themselves but also the equipment that they’re using don’t feel that just because you’re shooting on a smartphone you can’t give your footage a more high-end look it’s totally possible to make your footage look cinematic and professional with the right mindset and a few accessories now if you’ve been watching this channel for a while you’ll know that i’m a big fan of the gimbal light stand combo this super easy to use and relatively cheap setup is a great way to give your footage that hollywood look watch feature films and pay close attention to the way in which the camera moves then find ways to replicate that movement using your smartphone this will instantly take your footage from beginner to pro i’ve got plenty of videos on this channel dedicated to cinematic camera tricks i will link them below sunset shots now behind me here i’ve got two dartmoor ponies and this incredible sunset that i’d love to feature in the end shot to this sequence the end shot it’s such an important one it’s really important that i get this right please don’t go anywhere now here is how a beginner might capture this end shot okay we’ve got this beautiful sunset i’m going to get nice and close to these ponies back towards the sun that way the sun is hitting my focal point and lighting it up i know this seems logical but just wait for the pro version i also want both ponies in this shot so i’m just going to quickly pan from one to the other like this now what was wrong with this shot let’s break it down okay again it’s shot at eye level not particularly exciting very ordinary no real thought has gone into camera movement the footage is shaky and difficult to watch the pan from one pony to the other seems aggressive and the shot isn’t framed particularly well now let’s look at the pro version of this shot this time i’m going to get low to the ground and give this shot a much more interesting perspective i’m also going to shoot towards the sun this time and put my focal point between myself and the sun this will instantly create a more high contrast look giving my focal point this beautiful silhouette as well as giving my shot these incredible sun flares let’s see a couple more examples don’t worry these things are nice and friendly.

Okay let’s try a basic orbit shot i’m just going to orbit my camera around to the left again shooting into the sun this not only gives the shot more depth but also allows our focal point to reveal the sun as we move our camera this is the wide shot let’s try one more same camera movement only this time a bit closer using the standard lens again a much better shot especially when you start to edit all of these clips together okay now it would be absolutely criminal for me not to get this shot whilst i’m here the sun isn’t going to last long i want to make the most of it and grab another potential end shot pushing forward across this landscape yes this is exactly what i’m looking for a smooth push forward this shot has everything smooth camera movement wildlife the sunset this shot really shows off the landscape and would be a great way to end this sequence okay so we’ve now captured all the footage needed to create two b-roll sequences let’s start off by looking at the beginner b-roll sequence so now obviously that edit was packed full of mistakes but hopefully you were able to easily identify them now let’s see how that beginner b-roll sequence compares to the pro okay so hopefully you’ll agree that that second b-roll sequence was much better than the first those were just a few common beginner mistakes and ways to fix them if you found this video useful do let me know by giving it the old thumbs up and if you’d like to see more content like this.